#DriveKia

IMG_5401

I recently had the opportunity to drive a Kia Sorento SXL 2.0T with all-wheel drive, and I loved it! It was super fun to have a brand new (incredibly clean) car delivered to my driveway… even though it was only for a week, I felt very fancy! It’s a contender for 2016 North American Car & Truck of the Year for a week, and I can see why.

The Sorento has a very technologically-advanced feel to me. Andy and I kept talking about just how much information is available on the dashboard.

2016_Kia_Sorento_29

As you can see, it’s got a great display for a GPS (why yes, I do drive to the Ritz Carlton in Lake Tahoe frequently. I told you I was fancy. Okay fine, I stole that photo) and it’s set up for Pandora, among other things. It was really easy for me to pair my phone with the bluetooth system. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but considering I haven’t gotten around to digging out the manual to figure out how to do it in my own van, I was excited about that. I could even use Siri through the voice recognition in the car.

And get this – it shows the speed limit of wherever you happen to be. We are living in the future, I’m telling you.

However. I haven’t told you the best part yet.

The camera.

Check this out.

IMG_5385

There are 360 cameras that show the entire area surrounding the car when you’re trying to park. So not only can you see what’s behind you, you can see what’s all around. Which means you don’t have to cross your fingers and hope you’re not going to sideswipe the car next to you. (What? It can’t be just me.) You can see the lines of the parking space. It is amazing.

To be quite honest, that camera/display system could be set up in a tin can and I would still love it, but the rest of the car was great too! My kids loved riding in it – they really, really wanted to keep it, actually. Andy and I enjoyed driving it as well. It drives kind of in between a car and a minivan. It is low enough that it was easy for my 90 year old grandma to get in and out of, but it is high enough to not break your back putting babies in a car seat. I’m a little past that stage of life, but I remember it well!

IMG_5403

Learn more about the Kia Sorento here, and follow Kia on Twitter!

Post to Twitter

It’s National Down Syndrome Awareness Month & Pampers is Making it #BetterForBaby

joybetterforbaby2

If you’ve been following this blog for any decent amount of time, you know that people with special needs, especially Down syndrome, are very precious to me. Since October is Down syndrome awareness month, I want to once again tell you about my friend Joy Marie Minor! Joy turned 3 in April and since she was an infant, it’s been my privilege to walk on her Buddy Walk for Down syndrome team and raise $$ for our local chapter of the Down Syndrome Association. ALL of the funds raised stay here in our area to help our friends with Down syndrome get the therapies and services they need to fully rock out their extra chromosome. Since I’ve had two out of my three kiddos in various therapies, I know how expensive it is. The money we raise helps out with these expenses and more! Joy works her butt off in therapy 5 days a week and has recently started taking steps on her own. She is a rock star!

This year because of my affiliation with the Pampers Baby Board, I was able to give a grant of $2500 to an organization I felt made life #BetterForBaby, which is a main aim of the Pampers brand – making life better for baby! Since the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association helps babies with Down syndrome and their families as they grow, I knew I’d be blessing the Buddy Walk with my grant! I spread the grant money out over three Buddy Walk teams that are special to me including Joy’s Team Peace, Love, and Joy which my family and I walk on. Thanks in part to Pampers we were a top fundraising team! Whoop whoop!

BuddyWalk

Joy has so many people who love and support her!

Joy has so many people who love and support her!

People with Down syndrome may have an extra chromosome, but they are just like you and me. They are people with dreams, struggles, highs, lows, talents, abilities, goals, wins, and losses. The reality is they need some extra help through therapy but SO many others do too – like I said, two out of three of my kids have. I appreciate Pampers #BetterForBaby helping to truly make life better for these amazing people who live, love, learn, and work in our community. It’s an honor and a blessing to be associated with such a giving brand who sees the value in every baby!

Thanks Pampers, for making life #BetterforBaby and for helping me to bless the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association and the three Buddy Walk teams that are special to me: Team Peace, Love, & Joy, Emmaline Curley’s Crew, and the Carsonettes!

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month! To learn more about Down Syndrome, check out this link! And check out this awesome Pampers #BetterForBaby video that will make you cry!

Post to Twitter

“He Named Me Malala” in Theaters October 9

What do you have going on this weekend? For us, it’s one of those rare times that we don’t have too much on the calendar. Soccer game tomorrow morning and dinner out with friends tomorrow night… but other than that, we’re not scheduled.

If you have some time this weekend as well, I have a good idea for how you can spend it – go to the movies!

Specifically, go see “He Named Me Malala.”

Doesn’t that look amazing?!?

It’s the story of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakastani teenager who was shot in the head for speaking out about the radical idea that girls should be able to go to school. As I’m sure you know, Malala recovered from her life-threatening injuries and has gone on to have an incredible impact on the world and was even granted the Nobel Peace Prize.

I read her book several years ago, and I had the opportunity to sit in on a conference call recently where she answered questions posed to her by mom bloggers. I was impressed with her kindness and humor, and the amazing way she articulates her vision. Did you know that providing 12 years of high-quality education for every child in the world would cost what we collectively spend on military power in just eight days?

Let that sink in for just a minute.

I really want to take Kate to see the movie! It’s a complex topic, though, and there’s a parents guide available here that will help facilitate discussion with our kids.

“He Named Me Malala” is showing in a couple theaters near us (Dayton peeps – it’s at the Fairfield Commons theater, as well as at The Greene), and I’m sure it’s showing near you as well. Check here to find out!

Post to Twitter

Win Tickets to Marvel Universe LIVE in Cincinnati!

Jenny and I both have some serious Marvel fans in our house! Take, for instance, Halloween 2014, when Ultron, Iron Man, and Starlord were all at my house:

Joshua was Falcon from the Captain America movie and Jonah was a reluctant Ironman.

Halloween Sam

Needless to say we are SUPER PUMPED about Marvel Universe LIVE coming to Cincinnati!

Marvel fans, assemble! Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new level, with a mind-blowing show unlike anything you’ve seen before. Watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and the Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk and more) and threatening villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza, coming to the Cincinnati. You’ll definitely feel the energy with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and more. It’s being hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever. Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance. The fate of the universe depends on it!

Stay up to date on the show by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter!

Marvel Universe LIVE will have five shows in Cincinnati between December 17 and December 20. Kids’ tickets start at $20 and can be purchased through TicketMaster.

We are giving away a four-pack of tickets for the show on December 17 at 7:00 PM! To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us your child’s favorite Marvel character. The contest will close on November 1, 2015 and a winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Post to Twitter

Disney on Ice is coming to Dayton

Treasure Cove-1000x200

Disney on Ice is coming back to Dayton, and we want you to join us there!

Jenny and I are excited to be taking our kids to the show once again. This year’s show is called Treasure Trove, and it features Tiana, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Flynn, Jasmine, Ariel, Peter Pan, Simba, Alice and more! To learn more about the show, visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

D26-1200x628-Photo-Rapunzel

D26-1200x628-Photo-LionKing

Disney on Ice will be in Dayton at the Nutter Center starting Wednesday, October 21 through Sunday, October 25We are giving away a four pack of tickets for the opening night show! To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us your child’s favorite Disney character. We’ll choose a winner randomly on 10/10/15. Good luck!

Post to Twitter

Pay Attention.

So here it is, the last day of September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Before everything turns pink tomorrow (and I do mean everything – I saw pink tortillas the other day), I feel the need to make my annual soapbox speech.

YOU GUYS. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR OVARIES.

Did that work?

Okay, let me be a little more specific.

ovarian cancer signs and symptoms

Here’s more.

ovarian cancer infographic

I have an entirely different perspective on this than I did a year ago, when I wasn’t paying attention, conveniently ignoring “persistent pressure or pain in the pelvic region” I had waxed poetic about for years. Little did I know that my annual screening (which I didn’t get around to until it was nearly three months overdue) would show a cyst in my ovary and an elevation in my CA-125 level, results that led to a laparoscopic surgery the following day and, eventually, a complete hysterectomy.

The good news is, as you know, I didn’t have cancer, but it scared the living daylights out of me.

The other good news is that for the 200,000 women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, they are making progress.

ovarian cancer research progress

So here are the takeaways.

Know your risk.

11223627_10153044167205951_2434923340931692503_o

If you are at an increased risk, take precautionary methods and have an ultrasound and a CA-125 screening each year, and do what you can to decrease the risk.

12002414_10153046557065951_267045154805048472_o

For more information, check out the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

And for heaven’s sake, pay attention.

Post to Twitter

Please Stop Smoking From the Pumpkin Spice Flavored Crack Pipe

You guys. It’s FALL. Like, officially, according to the calendar, not just according to white girls who loves scarves, boots, and OHMAHGAH PUMPKINSPAHHHHCCCEE!

Or so I've heard.

Or so I’ve heard.

Little known fact about me: FALL is my favorite season. I love the weather, I love the boots, and scarves, and dangit if ORANGE isn’t my favorite color, I don’t know what is!! I freaking love ORANGE. I even like Pumpkins. I mean, they’re adorable fruits you can eat or decorate. Except I don’t actually like to eat them. But their seeds? I do love to eat some  baked-up pumpkin seeds. What I don’t like? PUMPKIN SPICE. Pumpkin spice is the orange-colored, clove-scented, RUINATION OF FALL! I know you are all gasping in one accord and your heads are collectively SPINNING with rage on your scarf-clad necks, but please take a breath and maybe a huff of your pumpkin-scented Yankee candle and hear me out. I will explain. Once upon a time a few falls ago, I made the mistake of innocently posting on Facebook how much I hated “Pumpkin Spice” and had therefore never been a fan of pumpkin pie or that disgrace that’s come to coffee, the PSL. I say “mistake” because this resulted in an immediate torrent of pumpkin spice-related pictures, memes, comments, and tags on my Facebook timeline. This pumpkin torment has been going on for at least three years, I’d say.  It’s KIND OF annoying. BUT!! But…today I’m here to say, the joke is on the jokers. By tormenting me with all things pumpkin spice on my timeline, you’ve given enough ammo to prove that this country has lost it’s damn mind over all things pumpkin spice to a REEDONKULOUS degree. Allow me to demonstrate:

frosted mini wheats

Ummmm….no. fall frolic YOUR CAT NOW HATES YOU EVEN MORE THAN IT ALREADY DID! Why would your force it to defecate in pumpkin spice-flavored litter? pumpkin spice chips Way to go, Nestle, I just THREW UP IN MY MOUTH. I pity the kids that bite into a cookie made with these and think they are chocolate chip. Have fun paying for the years of therapy caused by THAT violation of trust, parents. Things in the United State of Pumpkin Spice have gotten SO very out of hand that my friend and loyal reader Allison, grocery shopping in sunny California, was compelled to make a lovely photo collage of the pumpkin parade at her local grocery. This is just the stuff on the END CAPS! God knows what other horrors are lurking in the aisles…

pumpkin spice collage

Seriously…Oreos? Milanos? Hostess cakes? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO THESE DELICACIES??? It’s like junk food treason.

That’s right America, you have gone so COO-COO for Pumpkin Spice, I think that stuff must be laced with crack, or more likely, a mind-controlling drug invented by the purveyors of Pumpkin Spice, the Pumpkin Spice Kingpins if you will, to make you crave MOAR AND MOAR AND MOAR PUMPKIN SPICE. I know this is a joke, but I have no doubt that if it were real, people would actually be lining up at the corner drugstore to purchase this so they could squirt pumpkin spice up their hoo-has. (This is another gem from my FB timeline that a “friend” shared with me.)

pS enema

And, in case you’re period just isn’t unpleasant enough ALREADY, have a pumpkin spice tampax! The warm scents of cinnamon and pumpkin will ALMOST make you forget your constant state of hormone-induced homicidal rage.

PS tampons

This is FUNNY BECAUSE THIS IS HOW CRAZY YOU PEOPLE ARE! You guys. Put down your Pumpkin Spice Latte, pick up a Salted Caramel Mocha, (because we ALL KNOW that CARAMEL is the REAL FLAVOR OF FALL), and umm…get a life. (And if you can’t control yourselves, please hide in secret with your pumpkin spice Oreos and do not sully my timeline with that blasphemy! )

Post to Twitter

I can breathe but I have to drink coffee through a straw so I’m not sure it’s worth it.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged about anything the ol’ braces. With having my insides removed and everything, that’s gotten lost in the fray.

But – good news – I am getting my braces off in exactly 20 days! Can you believe that? It seems like only yesterday my doctor told me my tongue was too big for my mouth.

The past year and a half has been, ahem, an interesting journey. First I had to wear this hideous retainer-like contraption for several months, then I became a metal mouth, but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

And you know what? This is totally crazy, but I can actually breathe better.

I mean, I had no idea I couldn’t breathe well before, seeing as how I have always had my tongue. But now that my mouth is big enough to fit that monstrosity, I understand how the human respiratory system is supposed to work. I don’t get out of breath at all the way I used to, and due to the aforementioned inside-removal, my cardiovascular activity level has been fairly limited since May… so it’s not that I’m in better shape. It’s that my airway is no longer blocked. I know how weird that must sound, because it feels weird. Every time I climb up stairs, I am surprised by how not winded I am.

Crazy.

So now that I am at the end of my braces journey (with the exception of the tooth-positioner and retainer I’ll have to wear at night for, like, ever), guess who is starting hers?

12033063_10102564583211558_2899033675623201864_n

Yep. Kate is at the beginning of the same treatment plan I’ve undergone. She is currently wearing the retainer-like contraption, and let me tell you, she is whining way less than I did handling it like a champ. And just a few days after my braces are removed, she’ll get hers on. I was really hoping we could be twins for a while, but no such luck. She was really hoping for that too, trust me.

The orthodontist is loving us, though. I hope he enjoys the luxurious European vacation he can take courtesy of the Berry family. Seriously, my grandparents paid less for their first house than we have paid this dude in the past 18 months. Which brings me back to the title of this post… and now that I think about it, I’m not so sure not being able to breathe was a bad thing!

Post to Twitter

Fit (Bit) to Be Tied

A few weeks ago, my husband sent me a link via instant messenger and said “pick one”. I clicked the link. It was to FitBit’s website.

Against my better judgment, I PICKED ONE. And now I am irreversibly OBSESSED with the dang thing! This is a huge problem for an exercise-hating lazybones like moi.

(Also, should I be offended that my husband practically forced me to get a FitBit? Discuss.)

At the time my darling dear forced a FitBit upon me, we had just come back from vacation and I was bemoaning the fact that over the past year since I got a job, I had really let myself go and had gained like 11 pounds. So, after vacation I gave up sugar (the HORROR) and started doing my favorite Pilates again. I vowed this was the year I was going to do the opposite of “let myself go”. I was going to take time to take care of myself even though I have a job and am incredibly pressed for time.

And I have. It’s shocking! I like, exercise every day. I have only had one Mountain Dew since July 27th. I have lost 13 pounds. And I give the FitBit MAD CREDIT.

walking

This is me out walking. On a really HOT day. ON PURPOSE. What the fish, man!?!?!

I am very ashamed that it took a tiny electronic device in my pocket to truly motivate me to take care of myself, but OH WELL. It is what it is! And it is an obsession! I check the app on my phone to keep up with my steps like 8700 times a day. And I exercise and drink enough water PURELY to see that my goals turn green by the end of the day.

fitbit

Seriously WHO AM I?

The only thing I don’t like about my FitBit is the CHALLENGES my friends keep inviting me too. Since I have a job that requires I sit on my @$$ several hours a day, I can NEVER win the challenges. So, I am a big loser. But, the competition is still good for me. I do as much as I can! I walk around my house for no reason just to get extra steps in.

Basically, I am an insane person.

But I am feeling pretty good! So we will go with it for now. 🙂

Are you FitBit obsessed? Friend me!

 

Post to Twitter

Five Podcasts I Can’t Live Without

PodCasts I Can't Live Without

In the past few months, I’ve been listening to podcasts on my commute and I am hooked! I have no doubt I am the last person on Earth to become aware of the wonders of podcasts, but just in case anyone out there is still listening to the radio, I thought I’d take a minute to share some of my favorites.

On any given weekday, I can be found listening to…

478048_10152287974920694_1396576242_o
The Sporkful. They had me at the tagline – “It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters.” (Foodie, if you recall, is on my list of words that should be abolished from the English language.)

Summary: The Sporkful isn’t for foodies, it’s for eaters. Each week Dan and his guests explore the huge, fun world of food and eating that’s beyond the realm of recipes, chefs, and restaurants. Episodes range from a parody of the hit podcast Serial in which Dan investigates a series of office fridge food thefts to a feature on Asian-Americans in the food world who are defying stereotypes to a debate over the definition of a sandwich to a comedian’s struggle with his autistic son’s eating issues. The Sporkful began as a dream so delicious and vivid that when Dan woke, his pillow was covered in drool. But it’s not just one man’s vision. It’s a gathering place for Eaters from across the globe. So take part and together we will all learn to eat more better!

Episodes I recommend: Jim Gaffigan Lies To His Kids About Food, The REAL Sausage King of Chicago (Live in Chicago Pt. 1)

logest shortest time
The Longest Shortest Time
This is the best parenting podcast I’ve come across. It’s not about parenting tips, really, but it’s stories of people who are in the trenches of parenting. The name pretty much sums up how I feel about this stage of my life, too.

Summary: Hillary Frank created the Longest Shortest Time as a bedside companion for parents who want to hear in the middle of the night (or day—what’s the difference, really?) that they are not alone. And that as never-ending as any parenting stages seem, they don’t last forever.

Episodes I recommend: The Accidental Gay Parents, Sixty-Five Women and a Baby.

death sex and money
Death, Sex & Money As you might have ascertained by reading the title, this podcast gets real. I’m continually impressed by the host, Anna Sale, who never seems to hesitate to ask the hard questions, but she does so in such a compassionate and interested way. Some of the episodes carry the “explicit” warning, just FYI.

Summary: A podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation. Host Anna Sale talks to celebrities and regular people about relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we’re here.

Episodes I recommend: In Sickness and in Mental Health, Confessions of a Nashville Power Couple. And pretty much all the rest of them, too.

this american life
This American Life They brought us Serial, what more do you want? But there is so much more. I pretty much think this should be required listening for everyone who is alive.

Summary: There’s a theme to each episode of This American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always.

Episodes I recommend: Too Soon? Okay so I must jump in here with a “WTF” moment of the day. This episode mentions OJ Simpson. But before delving into that part of the story, they had to start with a brief recap of OJ’s fame, the white Bronco and the trial. Because there are people listening to NPR who are not old enough to remember OJ’s trial. Let that sink in for a moment. I’ll wait. And I’ll also tell you that what follows that brief description is even more WTF-ier than that. So go listen. And after that, try this one – The Problem We All Live With.

wdwprep
WDW Prep School Now, y’all know that I love me some Disney, and that I am super type-A in my trip planning. But let me tell you – there are 101 podcasts about Disney World, and this is the only one I like. I can’t take the others! The host, Shannon Albert, is always well-prepared and each episode is short, succinct and full of helpful information. It is not a bunch of people sitting around and talking about what they read about Disney on the interwebz this week. Skip the others; listen to this one. (And the same goes for her website as well.)

Summary: If you’re planning a trip to Disney World and want to know all of the tips and tricks to making it a great trip, you’re in the right place. If you want to go to Disney World and have no idea where to start, you’re also in the right place.

Episodes I recommend: My best Disney World planning advice, How to do Disney World with very little planning (although I don’t know why anyone would do that.)

There you have it! My favorite podcasts. What have you been listening to?

Post to Twitter